The movers were late, but it was okay because there was still some packing to be done. While Adam put away the toiletries, Meera was putting the rest of his records into her Ariztia boxes.
“I always told you my shopping habit was good for something,” said Meera.
Adam gave her one of his lopsided grins that she loved so much. Meera had to stop herself from pinching one of his cheeks. He never liked it when she did, but always grudgingly let her do so, complaining about how she was damaging his skin and he was the one who would have to get Botox. Then it was Meera who found herself grinning.
He always complained about her shopping, especially Aritzia, which he considered basic beyond belief. “It’s not even designer,” he’d frown as she bought yet another loose-fitting cable-knit sweater for a couple hundred dollars. Of course, he spent his money on stupid bike parts, which he would always claim were “more aero”. Once, he spent some four hundred dollars to shave fifty grams off his bike seat. They never saw eye-to-eye about spending, but neither was truly better than the other about it. Plus, as millennials who would likely never own real estate, it was easier to spend their yuppie salaries to assuage their problems than to argue about money. Like the two shirts that Adam held right now.
They said “I Love Pasta” on them.
“Do you still want these, babe?” asked Adam, “I know they’re tacky but…”
Meera hesitated. When they got them, she was perhaps the happiest she’d ever been, on a trip with Adam to coastal Italy. Naples and Palmero, Sardinia and Sicily. They spent their days living in fractions of run-down villas without amenities, eating nothing but pasta and pizza. He was between jobs, and she was about to start her first, so they took three weeks to bask in the sun. There wasn’t a single argument, and they giggled as they practiced Italian off Duolingo. Though she had wanted to go to Milan and Florence, they compromised on a connection in Rome. She didn’t regret it. There was something magical about how the sun glittered in the waters of the Mediterranean, and something wonderful about lying on stone beaches.
“No, we’ve worn mine maybe once after getting back to Toronto,” said Meera, “you wear yours to sleep too much to throw out though.”
Adam shrugged and tossed it with his stuff. The number of things they had accumulated over the last three years was unbelievable. Trinkets from Yorkville and treasures from Ossington. Books from BMV and candlesticks from Indigo. They had so many of those oddly coloured plates that she liked so much and various whiskeys that he bought for the bar cart. The big things were for the movers to help with, but it was really putting things in boxes that took up most of the time.
She thought of when she first met Adam. To say it was love at first sight would be an incredible lie. No, she despised his stupid mustache, alarmingly tight clothes, and gross fratty mannerisms. He had made it no better when he drunkenly started accosting her, and then tried dancing with her. She gave him a dressing down that his friends captured on video, and thought that would be the end of it. Imagine her surprise when he spotted her at the gym the next day, gave a very sincere apology, and then walked away while her jaw was still on the ground.
The next time they met, it was St. Patrick’s Day. He was throwing ping pong balls into cups nailed down onto a table, nailed onto the roof, dancing at the same time. When Adam saw her, he hooted and started pointed finger guns at her. Sally shot her a glance.
“That white boy? Him?”
But Meera couldn’t help but wave. Sally had already found someone to kiss by the time Adam made it off the roof to greet Meera again. He offered her a drink, then asked if she wanted to join him up there. Meera declined the drink, wagging her tumbler of vodka, but acquiesced to his suggestion of the roof, a prime sunlit location to observe the throngs of green people partaking in the festivities. She spent all afternoon in the coveted warm spot on the roof, grinning cheek to cheek, and a finding a warm spot forming in her chest.
She was still smiling when the movers called her. It was a surprisingly efficient for a service that was billed by time. In the end, they managed to pack all the furniture and the boxes in less than two hours. The cold late spring streamed through the windows, illuminating vortexes of recently disturbed dust, the only sign of life left. The naked condo felt strange to Meera, a complete disconnection between their home for nearly three years, and now just an empty room.
Though it was a shoebox condo, it was a nifty one, in an older building north of University and Dundas. They had a clearly defined kitchen, dining area, and living area. Builders just didn’t make them like this anymore. They moved in at the beginning of the pandemic, giving up their old leases to take advantage of the cheap COVID-19 rents, and had been there ever since. It faced south, and was constantly bathed in the golden glow of the sun, keeping the place warm during the winter, and blisteringly hot during the summer. It was close to Chinatown to do groceries, to Grange Park for picnics, and to the AGO for walks. They had great memories there: a flapper party, a murder mystery, and many a birthday celebration. More importantly were the lazy weekends they sat in each other’s embrace, swaddled by the sun’s warm touch.
Meera turned back to give the condo one last look as she stepped through the door. She’d be leaving those days behind as she moved to Los Angeles. Not her big acting break, but an upper management position at Spotify. It was Adam who had first introduced her to the music that set her on this path, and now she was the one walking it. This was what she wanted. This was for the best. Yet at the same time she felt saddened. She had spent so long, made so many memories in this little apartment. She had left a bit of her in it, and a bit of it would forever remain in her. She looked forward and closed the door.